Anberlin Never Take Friendship Personal

Like a much more gentle incarnation of Thursday, Anberlin meld aggressive songwriting with incredibly catchy and melodic vocals, making for songs that plant themselves firmly in your head and flatly refuse to a leave. While Never Take Friendship Personal can sound a little overly slick at times, for the most part, its production is the perfect complement to equally slick songs, moving from bouncy pop-punk at one moments to crushing emocore at the next. All the while, the band maintains a consistency over the record, keeping a sound that defines the band as its own unique entity. On tracks like "Symphony of Blasé,” guitar textures are experimented with and drum sounds tweaked, creating the ideal soundscape for a gentle song whose message of mutual heartache is translated to the listener not only through words, but through the creative use of sounds and their manipulation. Unfortunately, there are still moments on the record when it seems the band could have done more to differentiate themselves from the emo pack, but for the most part, this record succeeds in capturing a band who are content to sound like their own band. (Tooth and Nail)